The mission of Washington & Jefferson College is to graduate people of uncommon integrity, competence and maturity who are effective lifelong learners and responsible citizens, and who are prepared to contribute substantially to the world in which they live. To this end, the College promotes the development of skills, knowledge, personal qualities and a worldview that characterize a well-educated person.
Washington & Jefferson College will be recognized nationally as a highly selective, residential, student-centered liberal arts college with an exceptional record of producing future leaders, whose graduates are prepared for a breadth of life opportunities and professional success. Toward that end, W&J will assert its place as Pittsburgh’s premiere liberal arts institution, a role it has played for more than 230 years. More broadly, it will also be known as a robust community of engaged and intellectually curious faculty, staff, and students.
Strategies and Goals
I. Establish W&J as leading the way in defining a liberal arts college for the 21st century
W&J’s liberal arts focus has been an essential part of our identity as a college for centuries. In the 21st century, this liberal arts focus is more important than ever as technology allows us to access raw information easily, flooding us with facts and figures. Interpreting and evaluating that information, however, requires judgment and wisdom, the fruits of a liberal arts education. In a world where individuals change careers multiple times in their lifetimes, a liberal arts education is the most pragmatic of educations, one that prepares students for their first job as well as for a lifetime of evolving careers and enriching experiences. To reinvigorate our liberal arts education, W&J will:
A. Emphasize the synergy between a liberal arts education and preparation for a lifetime of careers
B. Nurture the curriculum to reflect new areas of study
C. Redesign the library as an information commons
D. Engage all students individually in their learning
E. Establish direct links to graduate and professional programs for our graduates
II. Promote and develop excellence in teaching, scholarship, and creative work
The academic program is the heart of the College, and, as such, the College is only as good as its teacher/scholars are. We must acknowledge and enhance the teaching role of all faculty and staff. It is crucial that all faculty and staff are aware of how they act as role models for students, demonstrating for students how educated individuals create a vibrant, intellectually curious, and compassionate community of critical thinkers. In addition, the growing availability of technology is impacting faculty members’ classroom roles and pedagogies as well as changing the ways in which research is executed and shared. The faculty will continue to sharpen their teaching and research skills in order to inspire our students to do their best work. To promote and develop excellence in teaching and research, W&J will:
A. Promote innovation in classroom pedagogies and faculty-student research projects.
B. Seek funding for endowed professorships and departmental initiatives
C. Enhance the campus-wide conversation on teaching, scholarship, and creative work
D. Support international opportunities for faculty, staff, and students
E. Increase the number of students who want to study abroad for a semester.
F. Ensure that faculty and staff salaries compare favorably to those at our peer institutions
III. Increase the diversity of the learning environment
W&J has benefited over the years from diversity in all its forms including religious, racial, ethnic, socio-economic, and political. It is clear that such diversity enriches the learning environment by allowing people with different experiences, aspirations, and beliefs to interact in a civil manner and to learn from one another. While we are proud of our record in this regard, sustaining diversity requires constant vigilance. Specifically, W&J wants to ensure that all students, faculty, and staff feel welcomed, included, and valued. Toward this end, W&J will:
A. Diversify faculty, staff, and student body
B. Promote curriculum addressing multicultural issues
C. Encourage broader, campus-wide participation in conversations on diversity.
IV. Enhance the visibility of W&J locally, nationally, and internationally
Those who know about Washington & Jefferson College respect the institution, but too few are aware of this “hidden gem.” Increasing our visibility will improve our ability to recruit bright students, sophisticated faculty, and experienced staff. It will also increase our ability to raise funds for the institution from alumni, foundations, and corporations. Of course visibility alone does not ensure greatness, but it does provide us a means to communicate our considerable achievements and exceptional outcomes. To enhance the visibility of W&J, the College will:
A. Design and execute a coordinated regional, national, and international marketing plan.
B. Launch the Center for Energy Policy and Management and the W&J Energy Index
C. Increase the College’s presence in local, national, and international media
D. Forge partnerships with other liberal arts colleges and with the region’s educational community
V. Expand W&J’s reach beyond our traditional audiences to diversify our revenue sources and support the College’s core enterprise
With the number of traditionally aged American students declining and the cost of educating them growing, it is crucial that W&J expand the people it serves in order to find additional revenue sources for the college beyond the tuition we receive from our traditional undergraduate programs. Therefore, expanding our programming is essential to ensuring that we have the revenue to support a robust undergraduate program. As we build our revenue sources, our focus will remain on our undergraduates, so new programs will be designed to exist alongside existing curricula and strengthen them.
A. Develop targeted post-baccalaureate programs including but not limited to non-residential Masters and five-year BA-MA degrees
B. Develop a program of certificate studies for continuing adult education
C. Create high visibility summer programs for prospective students and adults
D. Establish a strong program of international undergraduate recruiting
E. Become more intentional in our work with transfer students.
VI. Engage local communities
The college and its surrounding community are neighbors; our fortunes rise and fall together. Great progress has been made in the last decade to overcome years of resentment and tension between the college and its community. But more needs to be done so that students are attracted to area businesses and parks, while residents feel that the College makes a positive contribution to the vitality of their community. In order to engage local communities, W&J will:
A. Create a “college town” atmosphere in nearby communities
B. Strengthen ties to Pittsburgh institutions and to the city as a whole
C. Explore relationship to the expanding developments in Southpointe.
VII. Secure W&J’s financial future
In order for the College to continue to provide an exemplary liberal arts education and to support a residential college model, it must have a strong financial base. The generosity of former alumni and friends has not only provided us with beautiful campus buildings, but it has also helped to establish the College endowment which provides a 35% subsidy for all W&J students—above and beyond any financial aid offered to individuals. As the costs of college rise, this subsidy will need to increase. And, as the college grows, its facility and technology needs will grow as well. To secure W&J’s financial future, the College will:
A. Evaluate the optimal size for W&J and manage to that size
B. Complete a successful comprehensive campaign focused on endowment
C. Boost annual giving in dollar amounts and alumni participation
D. Enact a master plan to anticipate potential growth, address deferred maintenance, and assure that the College has the facilities and technology that it needs
E. Ensure that all facilities are up to date and well maintained.
W&J Student Outcomes
W&J students, faculty, and staff are liberated by our experiences at the College. We understand that our values as a community of learners are a shared responsibility, strengthened through practice across the full range of our activities. In the classroom, on the athletic field, in clubs and professional activities, in the residence halls, we are committed to connecting formal learning experiences to our everyday engagements with the world. We ground this commitment in the language we use to express our principles and aspirations:
W&J graduates demonstrate intellectual curiosity, grounded in interdisciplinary thinking; lifelong learning; connecting natural and social sciences, arts, humanities, to make meaning from experiences in the world;
“we explore beyond boundaries”
informed analysis and decision making; finding, evaluating, using information appropriately; effective reasoning; independence of thought; depth of knowledge; innovation
“we think carefully”
integrity ethical reasoning; accepting responsibility; taking failure as opportunity; courage to lead; teamwork; empathy
“we teach the whole student”
and individual agency; initiative; self-awareness; motivation; self-direction; taking responsibility for physical and emotional health
“we own our experiences”
the ability to communicate ideas; quantitative reasoning; oral and written communication; critical and creative thinking; adaptability; textual, visual, and artistic literacies; information technologies; the study of languages
“we practice the liberal arts”
and a commitment to local and national communities, juncta juvant; respectful of diversity; spirit of service; responsibility; knowledge of community expectations; political and social engagement; environmental conscience; civility in discourse
“we give back”
paired with responsible global citizenship. understanding difference and commonality, at home and abroad; seeing one’s place in the larger world; able to practice everyday diplomacy
“we engage with the world”
FIVE CORE VALUES OF W&J
To do the right thing even when it is not easy
To act upon ethical and moral principles
To be true to oneself
To demand accurate evidence and precise argumentation
To tell the truth
To represent oneself and one’s work truthfully
To respect all community members, even when we disagree
To respect oneself
To adhere to the principles of academic freedom
To take responsibility for self and others in order to ensure a strong community
To recognize one’s responsibility as a national and global citizen
To be diligent by working hard and doing one’s best
To challenge oneself in order to grow
To pursue the truth